“What should I do if I question something a prophet has taught?” Liahona, September 2016, 53
When the restored Church was organized, Joseph Smith received a revelation telling the early Saints, “His [the prophet’s] word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith” (D&C 21:5).
Joseph Smith also said that “a prophet [is] a prophet only when he [is] acting as such.”1 This means that “a statement made by one leader on a single occasion often represents a personal, though well-considered, opinion, not meant to be official or binding for the whole Church.”2 It’s usually obvious when the prophet is “acting as such,” such as addressing Church members in an official capacity.
It is our privilege to ask Heavenly Father for our own witness “about whatever His prophet has proclaimed.”3 If we don’t receive a witness, then we should study what other prophets have said about the matter and choose a course of action. The best course of action is to follow the combined, consistent counsel of the prophets “in all patience and faith.” As we do, we will be blessed (see 1 Nephi 2:11, 16, 19).